The impressive Roman mosaic discovered

Where was it found? In the ancient city of Rastan in modern Syria. And it dates from the time of Macedonian Greek rule. The impressive Roman mosaic discovered there depicts the Battle of the Centaurs. It is located next to the mosaics of the Amazonian War and Poseidon, god of the sea.

Muhammad Nazir Awad is director general of Antiquities and Museums of Syria. He stated that the impressive Roman mosaic discovered depicts the third scene from The Iliad.

The impressive Roman mosaic discovered at Rastan.
The impressive Roman mosaic discovered at Rastan.

Great relevance

The mosaics were first discovered last October. They occupy about 300 square meters. They are made of multicolored glass fragments embedded in intricate patterns. They date from the 4th century AD, when Syria was under Christian Byzantine rule.

In its best days, Rastan was called Arethusa. It was a wealthy and well-defended city. After being destroyed in 634 A.D. during the Muslim conquest the city lost importance. Today it is a city of about 40,000 inhabitants. It is hoped that the discoveries will attract tourism.

“These discoveries will be economic, social and development levers,” it was stated. “It will be a very important visiting point. At the level of the ancient cities of Palmyra and Apamea, and other sites,” they added. Palmyra is one of six Syrian sites declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Islamic State destroyed part of the site during the Syrian civil war. The Islamic terrorist group laid landmines that need to be removed. And security problems remain.

“So far there is a major lack of funding for all the sites in Syria.” So said Youmna Tabet, program specialist in the Arab States unit of Unesco’s World Heritage Center.

This discovery revalues the tourist attraction of the city.
This discovery revalues the tourist attraction of the city.


U.S. sanctions were intended to force Syrian President Bashar Assad from power. But they ostensibly exempt activities related to the conservation and protection of cultural heritage sites. In practice they continue to frustrate such efforts. Especially with the ban on exporting U.S.-made goods to Syria.

In addition to the civil war, another disaster was the February 4 earthquake. It occurred on the Turkish-Syrian border, the most destructive ever recorded in the region. It severely damaged many archaeological sites. However, Rastan escaped damage. It is hoped that the recovery of the archaeological sites will provide a glimmer of hope for their future.

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